Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture
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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 1995 / Paperback

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Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 1995 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW41023

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Product Description

Boomers vs. busters, clergy vs. laypeople, organists vs. guitarists---"worship wars" are tearing our churches apart! In this provocative book, Dawn calls us to more God-centered worship and away from the "entertain me" attitude. You'll learn practical ways to determine the best methods for deepening worship life, nurturing new and mature believers, and strengthening your ministry in the church and the world. 316 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 1995
Dimensions: 6 X 9 (inches)
ISBN: 0802841023
ISBN-13: 9780802841025

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Publisher's Description

Why do churches fight “Worship Wars?” Why do discussions about how to conduct worship often split into two vitriolic polarities over “traditional” versus “contemporary” styles or into two opposing camps, such as organists/ guitarists, baby boomers/elders, returnees/loyalists or clergy/musicians? These “worship wars” prevent us from being the Church.

In Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn writes to help local parishes and denominations think more thoroughly about worship and culture so that they can function effectively in contemporary society. She roots her discussion of worship issues in a careful assessment of significant aspects of the present technological, boomer, post-modern society and names criteria by which to judge the various cultural influences. She then sketches essential attributes of worship. Dawn recognizes that the vitality and faithfulness of our personal and corporate Christian lives and the effectiveness of our outreach to the world depend on the character that is formed in individuals and communities.

How can churches best reach out to society without “dumbing down” this essential character formation? Dawn discusses music, preaching, and all the accouterments of worship and offers practical suggestions for choosing the best tools and forms to deepen worship life, nurture faith development, and increase believers’ outreach throughout the universal church and to the world.

Author Bio

Marva J. Dawn is a theologian, author, musician, andeducator with Christians Equipped for Ministry, Vancouver,Washington, and Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology atRegent College. A scholar with four masters degrees and aPh.D. in Christian Ethics and the Scriptures from theUniversity of Notre Dame, Dr. Dawn has spoken for clergyand worship conferences and seminaries throughout NorthAmerica and in Madagascar and in Eastern and WesternEurope. She has written many books, most of which arepublished by Eerdmans.

Editorial Reviews

Academy of Parish ClergyTop Ten Books of the Year (1996)

Bibliotheca Sacra
"Few books on worship are as articulate, thought-provoking, well researched, and prophetic as this volume. . . Dawn displays a broad awareness of the popular trends and conclusions presented in contemporary church growth literature as her quotations, discussion, and ample footnotes demonstrate."

CBA Bookstore Journal
"Dawn's perspective on worship is refreshingly theocentric. . . An interesting work that addresses a key topic for Christians."

Christian Century
"In her warmly encouraging book, Dawn explores ways that congregation members and leaders can plan appealing and accessible worship services without 'dumbing down' to the lowest common denominator of popular culture. . . An especially helpful guide to the literature on church growth, authentic contemporary worship and music, and doing theology in congregations."

Christianity Today
"A vigorous defense of more traditional worship. . . Reaching Out without Dumbing Down represents a prophetic voice raising probing questions about worship that evangelicals ought to consider."

First Things
"An insightful treatment of the 'worship wars' that afflict many Protestant denominations and are being felt also among Catholics. Marva Dawn provides much-needed help in understanding why worship that is really the worship of god cannot be compromised to the goal of 'church growth.' No friend of traditionalism, Dawn knows the most astute appreciation of contemporary culture cannot be a substitute for a solid grounding in authentic Christian tradition. An important book."

Modern Liturgy
"This is a serious and accessible call to uncompromising liturgical reform."

New Theology Review
"Liturgists and musicians alike would profit from this pastorally oriented text. The author's genuine, convincing, impassioned account of the meaning of worship and its importance in the life of the worshipper should enable the fulfillment of her hope that it will lead to asking 'better questions."

Southwestern Journal of Theology
"This book is must reading for pastors, musicians, and laypersons who seek to deal with the 'worship wars' in a biblical and practical way. If you read only one book on worship this year, make this the one!"

The Anglican (Canada)
"For those who are longing to find an answer in the morass of today's muddle of worship, Marva Dawn's book is not only a source of hope, but indeed a source of strength. . . For all Christians who take their faith seriously, this is a book to be read and pondered. There is material here for everyone. . . Easy to read, but leads one into deep channels of thought."

The Christian Ministry
"A helpful contribution to any discussion about appropriate life-giving worship."

The Clergy Journal
"Sobering, significant, well written, and well documented. . . Her analysis and observations are persuasive and must be taken seriously."

Theology Today
"A welcome study of the state of the art of worship at the end of this century."

Word & World
"Anyone interested in a book that sizzles and pops while probing important matters of worship and church life might well enjoy (and be challenged by) Marva Dawn's passionate attempt to articulate a theology of worship for the turn-of-the-century culture."

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
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(5 out of 5)
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. mlinger
    Valdosta, GA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Fair & humble analysis of church worship practice
    February 5, 2012
    Valdosta, GA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The author manages to discuss the topic without being offensive, snobby, or condescending. This book would be IDEAL for any college or seminary to have students read, no matter which side of the "worship wars" they are on. The book is easily readable (not academically dry) without losing content. It is also written in such a way that I believe discussion groups could take it in sections and have plenty to "discuss."
  2. Neil Bartlett
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 28, 2001
    Neil Bartlett
    This is a great book. It goesagainst the grain of much ofmany modern-day churches' emphasis on what some would call "dumbingdown" worship to meet the "needs"of the unchurched. In the author's own words, "Many congregations today are switching worship practices without investigating what worship meansand how our worship relates tocontemporary culture." Her bookunpacks this statement.Her book will probably be morepalatable to those from a liturgical tradition. But Ithink everyone, no matter theirtradition or church affiliation,should dig into this book and takeher discussion seriously.
  3. Bryan A. Wilson
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    March 24, 2000
    Bryan A. Wilson
    Ms. Dawn provides the church with a well-diagnosed summary of the issues we need to keep in focus in our worship practices. She does an excellent job of using resources that analyze the depth of thought for the average American. She rightly emphasizes more "God-ward" worship and chides us for so much of our consumerist"feel good" self-absorbed worship practices. However, she assignes a higher value to creeds and liturgies than Holy Scripture. She hails the strength of the memorized parts of a service without mentioning the far greater strength and comfort found in the true source document for litergical inspiration -- God's Word. I believe that her misplaced emphasisputting the Bible on the "back burner," makes what could be a GREAT book, a fairly good book for evaluating the worship experience at your church.
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